Apartment Living


How to Enjoy the Holidays

rebecca - Tuesday, December 19, 2017

 

The holidays are supposed to be the best time of the year –A time filled with friends, family, food, and cheer, but stress can easily distract us from the good times. It can be difficult to find a balance between your work life and your personal life, especially when the year is coming to an end. You may be pressed with deadlines and overwhelming amount of work, but finding time to enjoy the holidays is extremely important and this is why:

 

Stress Relief. Everyone needs a little relief here and there and the holidays are perfect for it. Work has a lot of stresses that, often times, become hard to handle. And when the stress becomes too much to bare, our mental health isn’t at its best, which ultimately affects our physical health. We do our best work when we feel our best, and taking time to relax will ensure better all-around health for our bodies and minds. This is the time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the time with your family and friends. Take advantage of the holidays and gain the stress relief that you need!

 

Family and Friends Make Everything Better. One of the hardest things to accomplish in a hectic life is balance, especially when work seems to take up most of our time. Finding time for your personal relationships while trying to stay ahead in your career can be very challenging, but it is crucial. Spending time with your loved ones makes all of your problems seem a little bit better and the holidays are the perfect time to do so, without stressing about work. So take your time off to catch up with all of the important people in your life.

 

It’s the Perfect Break Before the New Year. This year may have been a tense one, full of crazy workloads, short deadlines, and chaotic assignments. And if that’s the case for you, the Holidays are the perfect time to sit back and enjoy the time you off before the start of the New Year. You have the chance to reboot and get ready for a whole year full of new assignments and projects, with a better and much more relaxed attitude then before.

 

It’s Christmas! You Deserve a Break. After all of the hard work you’ve put in throughout the year, it’s finally time for you to treat yourself to a nice break! Take advantage of it all! Enjoy the holidays because you definitely deserve it!


Unique Gift Ideas

rebecca - Friday, December 15, 2017

As we quickly approach Christmas it’s time to put the finishing touches on our shopping lists. Everyone always has a few people on their list that are hard to shop for and if those are the last gifts to complete your holiday shopping, try thinking outside the box and look for something unique. Unique gifts are the best gifts. They usually have great quality and meaning, and for all the people that are tough to shop for, these types of gifts are perfect.  Here is a list of some unique gifts to look for thus Christmas:

  • Anything homemade is always a good idea. Look for homemade candles, jewelry, clothing, candy, and maybe even beer. Homemade is always better. The quality can’t be matched and the item is probably one of kind. Look for the items when you’re out and add them to your list. You won’t regret it!
  • Rare Décor would make for the perfect unique gift. Try looking for items that fit into this year’s home décor trends. And maybe try to stick with the homemade route. Having something in your home that no one else has can be exciting. Look for items like pillow covers, rugs, tables, shelves, and bed sets. The more unique, the better.
  • Plants are great fillers. Try looking for really unique combinations of plants for someone’s home or maybe just for decoration. You can purchase a variety of different plants for anyone. Whether it be flowers, small trees, or potted plants, you can easily make them look great for the perfect holiday gift.

All of these items can be found all around Pittsburgh and luckily there is one specific place where you might be able to find them all. The pop up Holiday Market in Market Square has all of the best unique gifts you can think of. With a variety of different vendors, the market has some of the best quality items that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s the perfect place to shop for the last minute unique gifts.

And if you run out of time or ideas, don’t panic! Gift cards are always great for anyone! And gift cards to restaurants are just as good as gift cards to retail stores Everyone love free stuff and giving a gift card gives people the freedom to choose what they want. Sometimes gift cards are the only way to go. Giving them ensure that whoever you buy for will love your gift!


Holiday Cookie Recipes

rebecca - Thursday, December 14, 2017

 

With the sudden temperature drop, the idea of staying warm and cozy inside seems more and more appealing.  With the weekend approaching, and the weather not getting any warmer, it is the perfect time to fill your kitchen, (and your stomach!), with the aroma of freshly baked cookies.

 

Although many people have tried and true cookies recipes, it can be fun to branch out and try something new.  There is a whole host of different types of cookies, recipes, and variations on recipes that are just waiting to be tried.

 

Sugar cookies are the classic holiday cookie.  They are easy to make, fun to decorate, and of course taste delicious.  With this recipe, you can make enough to share with the entire family.  This is a great cookie to make if you are bringing cookies to a holiday party because they are universally enjoyed.  For a recipe, visit: http://www.inkatrinaskitchen.com/best-sugar-cookie-recipe-ever/

 

You cannot go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie.  These thick, gooey ones are guaranteed to be irresistible.  The recipe provided by the link is one of the best because the author gives tips and tricks throughout to help you make the best cookies possible.  There is also a video in case any instructions are unclear.  To check out the recipe, visit:

http://www.thebakingchocolatess.com/perfect-chocolate-chip-cookies/

 

Peanut Butter Blossoms are the perfect cookies to make for a cookie exchange since they are small in size, simple to make, and a deeply loved treat.  This recipe from Betty Crocker provides the measurements for a yield of 84 – be warned! Get it here:

https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/peanut-butter-blossoms-cookie-exchange-quantity/78806839-e0bd-4710-8b10-82abbece7ce5

 

Snickerdoodles provide the perfect blend of sweet and cinnamon to get you in the holiday spirit.  The recipe below, from the Lil Luna blog, is one of my all-time favorites.  It produces 3-4 dozen soft, perfect cookies that will only help to increase your popularity among friends.  Check out the recipe here: https://lilluna.com/recipe-tip-of-the-week-food-tutorial-snickerdoodles/

 

Naturally, it isn’t the holidays if you don’t make at least one batch of gingerbread cookies to decorate and enjoy.  These cookies usually take a little bit longer to make at an estimated 2 hours and 23 minutes by the recipe provided below.  Despite the slight time commitment, it is absolutely worth it.  Check out the recipe at http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/the-most-wonderful-gingerbread-cookies-80156 and, if you are looking for decorating ideas, be sure to visit www.pinterest.com for ample inspiration.

 

Whether you’re baking in mass for a holiday party or whether these cookies are strictly for you, (no judgement here,) try one of these fabulous recipes.  When you do, be sure to post a picture of your creations and let us know how they turned out.


Tips for Holiday Entertaining

admin - Tuesday, December 12, 2017

When it comes to holiday entertaining, hosting a houseful of people can be a daunting task. Follow our entertaining tips to keep your party full of fa-la-la-la-la and stress-free.

Plan Ahead

It sounds obvious, but planning ahead will make the day of your event so much easier. Plan your menu, shop in advance, and cook as much as you can the day before. If you’re having a sit down meal, set your table in advance. The day of your party will be far more enjoyable if you’re sipping a cocktail and talking with your guests instead of running around the kitchen at the last minute.

Curate a Festive Playlist

No party is complete without the right music to set the mood. Instead of setting iTunes to shuffle, plan out music that will match your mood. Dinner crowd? Think along the lines of holiday classics, like Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole. Know you’ll be dancing into the night? Look towards more upbeat favorites like Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas is You. Don’t fancy yourself a music connoisseur? Try holiday playlists already preset by Pandora or Spotify.

Have Food and Drink to Spare

There is nothing worse than running dry at a party, especially as the night kicks up, so when it comes to entertaining, its always better to overbuy. Keep in mind the size of your crowd, and remember that a few extra bottles of wine won’t go bad if you don’t use them.

Keep Your Menu Simple

In addition to planning ahead, keeping your menu simple will make the day of your event even more seamless. For a cocktail party, try to keep in mind items that require little cook time or assembly—think cheese and charcuterie and simple dip recipes. If you’re serving a full dinner, try to keep things limited to one main portion—ideally a protein like beef or chicken—and no more than two or three sides. Remember to keep your audience in mind, and serve crowd-pleasing sides like potatoes, and roast vegetables. And, when it comes to dessert, there’s nothing wrong with store-bought, premade cookie dough thrown into the oven at the last minute (Bonus: your house will smell amazing!)

Rearrange Your Furniture to Optimize Space

Specifically, if you’re living in a tight apartment, or a house with chopped up rooms, its important to make your space work for the event at hand. Keep seating open and side tables available for setting down drinks. Have an empty windowsill? Throw a few pillows in the sill to gain additional seating. Keep in mind how the room will feel when its full of people, and remove or relocate any furniture that might cause an obstacle for dancing or moving from room to room.

Our annual holiday party is coming up THIS THURSDAY in City View’s Lounge and Park View One’s Lobby. We’ll be playing music, having snacks and drinks, and activities for all residents and their guests. Make sure you stop by! It’s not too late to RSVP too – if you’d like to come, send rnagy@farosproperties.com.


How to Decorate Small for the Holidays

rebecca - Tuesday, December 5, 2017

It’s officially time to get out the holiday decorations and gear up for the Holiday Season! This might be your favorite, or least favorite part of the holidays, but it is necessary to really get into the holiday spirit! And though Decorating in a small apartment can be challenging, there are easy ways to get it done. You may want to go all out for the holidays this years, but try using these tips to keep things simple yet full of holiday spirits!

Make Good Use of Your Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen is a vital spot in any home, and though you may want to go crazy with your decorations, you need to use limited space in the kitchen so that there is room for the important things, like cooking. Take advantage of your kitchen cabinets and use them for decorations. You can hang mini wreaths or garland along your cabinets for the perfect touch, without interfering with your cooking space. You can also purchase holiday-themed items like bowls, mugs, or potholders.

Use Light as Much as Possible

Christmas lights are essential for decorating and they are perfect for lighting up small spaces, like your apartment. Adding a strand of lights on the walls or over top of some garland will add the perfect amount of seasonal comfort that your place needs. You can even purchase mini trees with lights and place them around your living space and find ways to incorporate lights throughout your entire apartment.

Add Inexpensive Centerpieces to Fill The Empty Spaces

Centerpieces are easy, cheap, and they look great! You don’t need anything big. Keep it small and simple. Try adding different holiday elements to mason jars. You can add pine leaves, cranberries, candles, and lights. Or you could do a jar full of small ornaments. All of these items are inexpensive and when the final product comes together, it will look amazing!

Put the Majority of Focus on Your Mantle

Because you live in a small space, finding the right decorations can be difficult and your ideas may seem cluttered, but that doesn’t mean finding ways to add beautiful decorations isn’t possible. Your mantle should be your main centerpiece. Really focus on making this the center of attention. Add garland, lights, mini trees, ornaments, and other small elements to really make the mantel pop. If you live in a small space, this is the perfect way to add the big decorations that may not fit into all of the small places.

Add Holiday Scents

The smell of December really brings everything together. Invest in some holiday scented candles or air fresheners. You can even add holiday-scented soaps. Having a good looking home is important, but having a good smelling home is really what matters. And why go through all of the decorating if your home doesn’t smell up to par? Adding these scents will give your place the perfect touch of holiday cheer to seal the deal.


Homemade Mulled Wine and Cider

rebecca - Tuesday, December 5, 2017

 

Mulled wine has been a popular winter drink in Europe for many centuries.  Mulled wine is usually some variety of red wine that is infused with spices and served warm.  Over the years, people began adding other types of alcohol, like rum or vodka, to their drinks to give it a little extra kick.

 

If wine is not your drink of choice, there are many variations on mulled drinks.  One of the most popular for this time of year is mulled cider.  Similar to the wine, it is a hot drink seasoned with spices like cinnamon, vanilla, or nutmeg.

 

Although most of us, sadly, will not be spending our holiday abroad in Europe, that does not mean that we can’t embrace their culture and traditions.  By making mulled wine and cider at home, we can still have a taste of what it would be like to spend the holiday surrounded by a snowy European country.

 

Mulled wine is pretty simple to make, even for the most amateur chef.  It is also a fast drink to make, taking only about 10 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook.  The ingredients you will need, as per the instructions of the Food Network, are as follows:

 

4 cups apple cider

1 bottle red wine

¼ cup honey

2 cinnamon sticks

1 orange, zested and juiced

4 whole cloves

3 star anise

4 oranges, peeled, for garnish

 

In order to make this recipe, first combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan.  Then, bring it to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  It is important to keep the heat very low so as not to alter the taste of the spices.  Finally, pour the drink into mugs, add an orange peel to each one for garnish, serve, and enjoy!

 

Making mulled cider is just as easy and takes a comparable amount of time.  For this drink, you will need:

 

2 quarts apple cider

2 cinnamon sticks

2 whole allspice berries

2 whole cloved

1 orange, thinly sliced

 

Once you have your ingredients gathered and prepped, place them all in a large saucepan and bring it to a simmer.  Again, this should be done on very low heat for the best results.  After 5-10 minutes, divide the drink into individual mugs and serve.  This recipe should make about 8 servings.

 

There are a variety of different recipes for slightly different variations on these drinks.  If you do not like a few of these spices, try changing them for ones of your own preference.  And, for some extra kick, try adding your favorite type of alcohol.  If you try a recipe, be sure to comment below and let us know the results!


1